Good Friday Reflection

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Today’s reflection was written by Brother Reginald Cruz, C.F.X.

“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

[Hebrews 5:8]

This year, Holy Week began with a call to follow Christ’s example in embracing the ordinary person that each of us are. This is he/she who we authentically are, the one God has known from the beginning but from whom we impulsively run away.

On Palm Sunday, we heard the ancient Christian hymn that St. Paul echoed in his letter to the Philippians.

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
(Phil 2:5-8)

Christ was faithful to his authentic self – divine and human at the same time. This is His ordinariness. He could not cling to his divinity alone, for that would be an act of disobedience to his authenticity. Thus, he became equally true to his humanity. In being humble, he became grounded in our realities, which ultimately led him to the most human of all fates – death. Being divine, Jesus could have exempted himself from our sufferings. But he did not:

Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
(Heb 5:8)

In being obedient to his authentic self, His ordinariness, Christ showed once and for all that human nature is so graced that death has no victory over it.

For us who are not in the same level as Christ, this means that we are called to embrace and be grounded in the humanity that is unique for each of us. We do not have to be anyone else than that person we really are. Being obedient to our authentic self is to be faithful to God. This is what it means to be ordinary.

In its elucidation of Xaverian Spirituality, the Working Paper talks about the ordinary as the ground constituted by the “givens” in our life that were beyond our choosing – the time, society, and culture into which we were born; the genealogies that arose from our ancestry; the realities, potencies, potentials, and limits that develop from our biologies and psychologies; the inevitabilities that come with being human. These “givens” are neither accidents of nature nor social happenstance. We have to come to terms even with those givens which we find unacceptable for they are truly part of us. All of them are graced by God, the Source from which they all originated.

This Holy Week we are called to find rest in our ordinariness like Christ did in His. It entails a Christlike obedience to our authentic self, resting on our true ground so that fulfilling what God had in store for us from the beginning becomes the genuine focus of our lives. When one is restful in that ground – one’s ordinariness – one becomes truly happy and completely satisfied. This for us Xaverians is how we achieve communion with God.

 

Recommended Exercise

Take some time to read and reflection on the follow quotations from the Xaverian spiritual tradition:

Which person who has some experience of spiritual matters would desire that an angel come from heaven in order to make known God’s will, when it is possible to know it by following the ordinary way…. If His Majesty wants to use an ordinary, simple and uneducated person, yea, a sinner; if God wants to make this person turn toward Him in view of a special work – In all this His Majesty is completely free.

(Letter of T.J. Ryken to G.N. Hermans, 14 November 1844)

The most ordinary persons are those who are the most satisfied and most at peace with themselves. They are the ones most deeply immersed in God’s good works, and the most wide-ranging in the way their love flows out to all in common. They are the least hindered in love, for they are the most God-like. For God is ordinariness in His being, charity in understanding, and an outflowing common love in His working. The more God-like we are in these three, the more we are united with Him.

(Jan van Ruusbroec,The Spiritual Espousals, b1767-76)

 

Prayer

God of Light and of Life, you have given us The Way by sending Creation your only Son. May we who follow His passion and death experience His resurrection and allow it to gift us with the energy, compassion, and wisdom to follow Jesus Christ’s Mission. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son and our brother. Amen.

 

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